We usually hear about design fads in terms of color, theme, or material, so when I happened across the Wall Street Journal Magazine's article predicting what will be the new face of American luxury living I was intrigued. The hottest trend, as the editors see it, is not a particular thing, but a value of sorts: authenticity. Do you buy it?
So what exactly does authenticity mean? Well, to the WSJ editors, it seems to be the rejection of what they term the "culture of bling" and the ideal of accumulating vast amounts of expensive and showy material perfection. But it's also a rejection of immaculate minimalism. The authentic style, which they dub "rough luxe," manifests itself as a heavy dose of the raw, the old, and the imperfect mixed with a splash of the fine and the glamorous. Think industrial loft with unfinished concrete floors and perhaps a little peeling paint furnished with a sampling of salvaged and repurposed goods, a Murano glass chandelier or two, a few high end antiques, and maybe some clean lined MCM classics to round out the spread. It's a marriage of the gritty and the pristine, in which every object is chosen to reflect the soul rather than the wallet of the inhabitants.
Sound familiar? It did to us. It's the theme that we notice most often in the homes we feature on Apartment Therapy and in the comments you make. Though there are certainly exceptions, in general we all tend to favor a mix of old and new, and we're wary of catalog/showroom perfection. We gravitate towards homes that showcase the personalities and good taste of their owners, and we praise the ones that feel loved, lived in, and well, real.
So is this notion of authenticity really a new trend? If we weren't so accustomed to the Apartment Therapy bubble we'd probably answer yes. We've seen enough high end DC homes to know that many designers still think of luxury as windows suffocating under scads of dowdy floral silks in pretentious rooms that look off limits even to adults. And if it is a new trend in high end living, can you actually see it changing the face of luxury? Let's discuss...
For more interesting insights, including thoughts on the economic influence surrounding the trend, check out the Wall Street Journal Magazine's full article, here.
(Image: Bill Jacobsen for WSJ Magazine Fall 2009)